Is The Catholic Church A Cult?

In general, no.  In parts, and in places, yes, in my opinion.

The Milwaukee Diocese is about to release its papers related to 20 some priests with child abuse issues.  It will include what the clergy hierarchy said and how it responded.  These will, apparently, include several reassignments of clergy with records of abuse.

This not about abuse being more common among clergy than among other professions.  It is about keeping secret a practice that occurred several times in many dioceses.  It is about a set of lay supporters who allowed, even admired, a system that made keeping such terrible events secret.

Lay people who supported the system of unaccountability, who believed, and still believe there was some kind powers or authority granted the first pope, Peter, that has been passed down to today, hold some responsibility.  Each person who does not support the system could have, and still can, withhold contributions.

I suppose some here will say, “Oh, what about the communists?  What about  atheist governments.”  I did not give the communists a dime.  Nor, did I give Hitler a dime.  Terrible atheist governments have nothing to do with a terrible system that allows clergy to abuse and not report.

The parts of the Catholic church, and other branches of Christianity, that are cult like are those which demand certain people be allowed to conduct harmful behavior, to take advantage of those less powerful, and not be required to report to law enforcement or its membership.



51 Responses

  1. entech

    Not really a cult, been established far too long for that description. It does have a couple of traits, charismatic rule by a single infallible leader and elements of secrecy are a couple. The main thing is a loss of contact with reality.

    Australia’s own Cardinal Pell is currently in Rome after being severely castigated by a recent government inquiry into abuse (covering all forms and by all institutions) is still trying to believe that the problem doesn’t exist.
    In an interview with the Vatican Insider we get this:

    You are one of the eight cardinal advisors of Pope Francis. What are the two or three main reforms that you would really like to see done in the Vatican now?

    The Cardinal apparently replied:
    Well I come from the English speaking world, where we are a non-imaginative, practical lot so rather than starting with a grand re-configuration of the Curia – which incidentally I think to some significant extent will happen, I think we should try to look at particular problems such as, for example, do we have enough typists in the Vatican? How many people with doctorates are spending their time typing? Now that’s only one small example of the practical problems that exist today.

    1. “Well I come from the English speaking world, where we are a non-imaginative, practical lot so rather than starting with a grand re-configuration of the Curia – which incidentally I think to some significant extent will happen,… ”

      No underling in a cult would get away with saying something like that about the boss. There’s a battle going in in the Vatican now between the Pope and his people and a group of bureaucrats who’ve grown very comfortable with the status quo.

  2. Henry

    Jon:“Is the Catholic Church a Cult?”

    Don’t believe so, but praise God for the Catholic church.

    Philippians 1:18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

  3. Michael Ross

    Is the Catholic Church a Cult?

    “In general, no. In parts, and in places, yes, in my opinion.”

    I would say in general, yes, in certain areas. The veneration of Mary, and the exultation of the pope as infallible and his influence over a universal church. This is a hallmark of the cults. In other ways, no. Entec’s point that the church has been around too long to be considered a cult, in that sense, no, it is not. Another cultish. attribute is putting church teaching above the Word of God. Requiring priests to be single is not biblical and, I believe, is partly responsible for the sexual abuse of children. There are millions of Catholics that love and serve Christ and revere His Word above any human institutions including the Catholic church and the pope.

    Jon, I’m sure you remember the Daystar Ministry Center housed in the Gardner Hotel building (1974-82). I was in Daystar 3 years. One year in their discipleship school in Wisconsin, and 2 years in the Gardner. One of those years I worked in Daystar Christian School, one of the two forerunners of what is now Park Christian. Some considered that a cult and I would say not but had some cultish practices such as living communally. At the time I thought this was right but since have changed my view. That lifestyle was making the church community the basic economic unit. I don’t that is biblical. God intends the nuclear family to fulfill that need. Some powerseekers in Washington are trying to make the federal government the basic economic unit with the eventual goal of a world system. That wont work either, anymore than Daystar did although it has lasted much longer only because it has the coercive power to tax and print money.

          1. entech

            I don’t know about the intent but, “of the people, by the people, for the people” was the dream. Your revolution is still a better example than any other of how it could be, should be, done. Especially the wall of separation.

          2. Henry

            entech:“wall of separation”

            It was one man’s private opinion not written into the US Constitution. The US Government should not impede the free exercise of religion contrary to the constitution. For example, now a judge in Alabama cannot hang his ten commandments in his courtroom. A valedictorian cannot simply express his religious views during his address. Not that this was right, but many states in the founding days had their own state church. The laws concerning religion are currently being applied differently than when they were first written. That is how the rubber ball bounces. However, to hear people say this is how it always has been back to the founding era is not true.

          3. entech

            It is also my opinion, not that has any bearing on the issue in America. But my opinion extends to thinking that every country should be envious that such a thought can have some effect. Keep the state out of the church and the church out of the state.

            Even more I would say keep the church out of peoples lives unless they invite it in, imposition is not only not effective but the first step towards tyranny.

          4. Henry, why is it so difficult to understand the difference between your right to practice your religion and my right to not practice your religion. Forcing practices of belief onto those who do not believe as you do is exactly what the first amendment is all about.

          5. Michael 4:18 “In 1776 and 1787 that was the intent.”

            I can’t say about 1776, but 1787 I know a little about. I’ve written about it here several times. What I know comes from the book, The Summer of 1787. That is a book about the Constitutional Convention in Philadephia. The book is based on the record written down by James Madison and letters written by those who were present. The only surviving records do not indicate attendees ever intended a nation based on any god of any kind. The only time a god came up was when Benjamin Franklin proposed starting each session with a prayer. It was voted down.

          6. Henry

            “r”“why is it so difficult to understand the difference between your right to practice your religion and my right to not practice your religion.”

            “r”, it is your comprehension that is lacking. That wasn’t said. You will have to re-read. Go and practice your religion as you choose. You have the right to do that bitterly or not bitterly as well. Your attitude is entirely allowable on this green earth.

      1. jacqueline b.

        I lived at Daystar in the Gardner Hotel during the year of 1978-79. If you were teaching, you may have been my teacher? We took a bus across the river each school day to MN to attend school. There were maybe 12? in our class.
        Let me know via e-mail if you remember these details.

    1. Matt

      wow michael…i would say you have some very serious misunderstandings of what the catholic church is and what she teaches…you might want to think about getting some of those straightened out before making such wild accusations…

      1. entech

        The view from the same window is different depending which side you are standing, which way you are looking, out or in.

        1. Matt

          what is on the outside or on the inside is the same… regardless of where you are standing…or even if there is a window there at all….

    2. Matt

      “Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life
      without the help of the Blessed Mother.
      Love the Madonna and pray the Rosary,
      for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today.
      All graces given by God pass through the Blessed Mother.”

      – St. Padre Pio

      Mary was found worthy by God to give birth to His only son our Lord Jesus Christ….i would say she deserves our respect…

      as for the pope check out Romans chapter 13

      1. Matt 7:18 “As for the Pope check out Romans Chapter 13.”

        I read Romans Chapter 13. My understanding of it is that it’s about government authorities, not church authorities. It seems like appying it to the Pope is a stretch.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          Yes ! In Romans 13, non-Catholic commentators attribute that authority to the civil authorities. During the early Middle/Dark Ages, it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the separation, due to the fall of the Roman Empire. The RCC, by implied consent, took advantage of the situation, and developed the Papacy into what it is today, and by using eisegesis (reading into), uses verses such as Romans 13 to support it. This was pointed out clearly 500 yr. ago. Nothing changed, and nothing will. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Though the wording of Trent has softened, the content is the same.

          1. Wanna 2:38 “..non-Catolic commentators attribute that authority to the civil authorities.”

            You used the correct term, “civil authorities”. I did not. It seem like a dishonest grab for power by Catholic authorities to use Romans 13 as a basis for their own ambitions.

          2. Matt

            you are right i will give that one to you…i guess i followed the protestant lead right into that one…thinking i could just go ahead and interpret the bible however i saw fit… pretty ridiculous huh?

            im sorry i dont have the time to sort this all out for you…. i can just urge you to look into it… the papacy is biblical..the truth is there you just need to find it…..

            on the other hand maybe those verses got deleted from the protestant bible because they didnt jive with the agenda…i dont know….

          3. Wanna B Sure

            Been there, done that. Have looked into it in depth. You need to sort it out for yourself; apart from “Sacred Tradition” (capital T). “Another source of divine revelation”. (In house material).
            Nothing was deleted. Same NT. The Papacy as it stands and is conducted, was added.

          4. Matt

            oh believe me friend….i have nothing to sort out… it is hard to wrap your head around when you dont understand the the level of spirituality involved… the realness and the power of the Holy Spirit….until you understand how He works in the lives of those who are open to Him you will never fully understand the catholic faith…

          5. Wanna B Sure

            Matt; May I suggest you start your education by starting at least with Wikipedia on “The History of the Papacy”. Use this as a rough outline on which you can begin to understand that of which you speak. Expanding out from there, paying special attention to “The Donation of Constantine”, and the Papal honesty in it’s use to power. Prior to that you will find the assumed authority totally lacking beyond institutional administration.
            Your 12:22 reeks of haughtiness and arrogance without substance or understanding. You would do well to hold your nose a little lower. Then go forward in your study of the Papacy.

          6. Matt

            i am sorry if i came across that way. i dont claim that the church is without faults. she is made up of fallen humans after all. i also do not know the complete detailed history of the papacy…or the church for that matter. even if i did it would not alter my faith in her teachings.

            i guess my point was more that people seem to have a lack of understanding (i understand very little myself) of how real and influential the spiritual world is. do you believe in the charismatic gifts? a lot of what the catholic church does is lead by the Holy Spirit and i dont think people understand/believe that….

          7. Wanna B Sure

            —–AND—–Since you bring up the subject of the Holy Spirit, I am disappointed in you in that you try to use the Holy Spirit as a weapon, rather than the source of spiritual understanding. There is a clear shortage of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit within the workings of the Papacy. One only has to have the courage to look honestly at the machinations of that institution to see much was done to thwart the workings of the Holy Spirit, both in the civil and sacred realms. Your dogmatics insist on the realms of the two swords, (civil and sacred). Much too often as history reveals, the sword of the secular curtailed the sword of the sacred. You are in no position to talk to me of the Holy Spirit, and limit the work of the Holy Spirit to the Chair.
            Now, back to your books, and don’t limit yourself to Trent.

          8. Matt

            i dont see how i am using the Holy Spirit as a weapon…i am trying to make the point that it is a source of guidance in all things.

            “You are in no position to talk to me of the Holy Spirit, and limit the work of the Holy Spirit to the Chair.”

            are you saying that the Holy Spirit is more powerful in your life than in mine? i just want to make it clear that i am not implying His presence in my life is greater than anyone elses. in no way am i limiting the Holy Spirit to the pope…. the Holy Spirit is for all persons and to be used by all persons. it is in no way limited.

          9. Matt 1:35 First, let me say I’m pleased to have you on this discussion board, so please do not take the criticism from some of us discourage you from participating. I want to go a page back where you referred all of us Romans 13. We read it and could not see how it relates to the powers of Catholic Clergy.

            You claim not to be versed in the history of some of this, but you did site a source that was supposed to establish Papal authority in history via the Bible. I hope you can read Catholic sources which give you a more powerful justification for Papal powers because those us non Catolics are not finding it.

          10. Wanna B Sure

            Matt; The topic you presented was the papacy and then introduced the Holy Spirit, as if to say to disagree with you is to go against the HS. And fully understanding “catholic church” is impossible. I noticed you used the small c in this term. Did you do this intentionally, or was it an accident. There is a difference. Capital “C” Catholic is the Roman Church. Small “c” is the “church universal”. Slightly more appropriate with the small c, BUT- the HS needn’t be the guide to “the church” ,BUT to the teachings of Christianity through the church. I don’t think either one of us worship “the church”, but to hear some talk, one could easily come to that conclusion, especially from those of the RCC. Please don’t bring up “infallibility, Apostolic succession, or sacerdotalism. (all related). I don’t have the ambition to discuss this with you at this time.

          11. Matt

            jon-my mistake…i should not have let my own interpretation get involved…i had just stumbled across that verse at the time i was reading the blog so i plugged it in…again my mistake.

            wanna b- this debate could go on forever but i agree…a lack of ambition and a lack of any progress makes it pointless. im sorry for any frustration i may have caused that may have been a stumbling block in your journey.
            God Bless

          12. Wanna B Sure

            Matt; Thank you, and I appreciate your inquisitiveness.
            Not at all frustrated. Indeed I rather enjoyed it.
            Nor was it a stumbling block. Been at this comparative theology far too long to be surprised by many things I have seen before.

            Live long and prosper, learn and grow in understanding.

          13. entech

            The cup of iniquity is full, the grapes of wrath are ripe, and now God crushes them in awesome judgment. Those who have rejected His grace feel the terror of His wrath.

            The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
            Revelations 14:10

            Not my sour grapes, taking grapes to be a metaphor for the wicked people who simply find it impossible to believe any of this, then it is your god that is sour, sour and vengeful and actually childish and emotional because he/she/it does not get their own way.

            Either that or the whole thing was written by men who claimed to be the representatives of god on earth, and had as their agenda the frightening of people into belief, into becoming part of the flock, becoming one of the sheeple.

            If you take it seriously you need one or the other, any retort that implies that this god exists is actually meaningless without proof.

          14. entech

            Vinegar and water is for the sad sinner, the repentant who expects no better.
            I am the proud hedonist who would like nothing less than 1954 Mouton Baron Phillipe.

          15. Wanna B Sure

            Just like a hedonist; Start with the top shelf, and work your way to the bottom. Nowhere else to go.

          16. entech

            Not exactly top shelf, at the time is was only a second growth, The premium at that time would have been the Chateau Lafitte Rothschild.

            I have actually had a bottle of the Mouton the Chateau Lafitte always was and always will be beyond my reach, rather like your belief system.

          17. entech 1:25 “I have actually had a bottle of the Mouton the Chateau Lafitte alway was and always will be beyond my reach, rather like your belief system.”


          18. Wanna B Sure

            Gollum was a hedonist “My precious”.

            Well, today is the 4th of July. Off to fight the British. 1812 didn’t quite do it, as the “Beatle invasion” came more recently. Always vigilant.

          19. entech

            4th of July, so it is, I totally forgot. Congratulations, I mean that seriously, I have said before that as a natural born Englishman I am a little ashamed at how long it took to realise that independence was completely justified and necessary.

            40 years ago I was not so sensible, I was living in Hong Kong at the time while working for a British shipping company based there. I had stopped for a drink on the way home, a man I new vaguely came in nodded and went to a further end of the bar. There was an American man drinking there and talking loudly to his companion, we all have embarrassing compatriots when in foreign places – on my Indonesian holidays I always say am English rather than Australian for that same reason. He was saying to his friend about how these limeys are funny, obviously know each other but don’t talk etc. He came across to me and said “hey bud, you know what day it is today” or similar, I said it was Wednesday, he said “it is the 4th of July, does that mean anything to you”. As I said he was a little drunk and swaggering and for once, probably the only time, the perfect retort for the circumstance came as I said, “Isn’t that the day America ceded from the British Commonwealth”, I could have got a well deserved punch in the nose but he just went of “in high dudgeon”

        2. Wanna B Sure

          Trent is nothing more than the codification of dogma of the RCC from the Middle Ages. In the last 200 yr. there are the added dogmas of the Marian Traditions, with one more to come, (Co-redemptrix–co redeemer).

      2. Wolfy32

        Nope, Mary doesn’t deserve to be prayed to or anything like that in my opinion, I think it is a sacralidge to God, a blasphemy against God, that we would elevate a human to near equal to God. That people pray to her and God, is just blasphemous in my opinion. That’s one of the biggest issues I have with Catholicism, that we elevate two people to near God hood- – The pope and Mary.

        They are both human beings, that performed a role, and were tools used by God for their specific purposes. That’s it. Tools, like a shovel. They fulfilled a purpose, and that’s it. That doesn’t make them or any part of humanity special.

        1. Matt

          unfortunately wolfy you have a huge misunderstanding of our view on Mary…

          Padre Pio was a priest who loved and was so loved by Jesus… he was so close to Jesus that he was allowed to share the wounds of his passion. he bore the stigmata for 50 years…. he also had an obvious devotion to our Blessed Mother and a great love for Her… nevermind all that…you are right and Padre Pio(not to mention all the other saints) is wrong… really…

  4. Wolfy32

    Interesting take on religion. When I was in Catholic University, one of the sisters asked the question. What would happen if Christ were alive today instead of 2000 years ago. The response was a resounding “Pretty much the same thing”. Not in the same way since I don’t believe crucifixion would occur. However, He would be arrested, most likely tried and declared insane or some such, and most likely taken to a secret research facility to be probed and disected to see how he heals people and walks on water!

    It was stated that his ministry at the time was very cult like. Gathering followers and telling people their religion is wrong and that this is the only religion that’s right and doing his best to reject society as it was.

    Many aspects that would be cult like if he did the same thing today in America that he did 2000 years ago int he mid east.

    As to the Catholic Church. I’d say if we separate the Vatican from the Church (the catholic people) then I would say that the Vatican acts more like a cult. Free from any laws of the lands and answerable only to itself with a human leader that is elevated to that of nearly a God. If anything I would label the entire vatican a form of cult country only answerable to itself not its people.

    Catholic churches and ministries throughout the world and/or catholic people I do not feel are members of a cult. They just happen to support the continuation of the Vatican cult through financial support.

    1. Wolfy32 1:08 “I’d say if we separate the Vatican from the Church (the catholic people) I would say the Vatican acts more like a cult.”

      Good observation.

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